Feral pig
The NSW government spent $12m removing 69,000 feral pigs but hunters remove more than 500,000 a year at their own expense

NSW feral pig numbers boom despite culling efforts

Feral pigs are continuing to cause havoc for agriculture and primary industry in NSW, despite the State Government culling more than 69,000 of the animals in a $12m program.

At least 36 aerial shooting expeditions have already been undertaken since October last year, and another 10 are being planned for the coming months as well.

Despite this, feral pig numbers continue to boom, partly as a result of wet, warm weather over the past couple of years creating ideal conditions for the species to breed.

There are reports the animals have been attacking farmers as well.

Agricultural experts have said the situation simply boils down to feral pigs breeding faster than they can be culled at current rates.

Shooters Union NSW president Tony Gavan said the NSW Government and landowners, instead of just relying on contract shooters, should be looking to enlist volunteer hunters as well to help control the pests.

“The NSW Government in particular should embrace the benefits that licensed hunters bring in terms of wild pig management, and the substantial bolstering of the rural economy they bring with them,” he said.

“Studies have shown that hunters remove 11,000 pigs per week or 572,000 pigs annually. This highlights just effective hunting as a major contributor in reduction of pig and other wild animal numbers.”

A May 2023 report by NSW DPI found hunters contributed $508.9m to NSW’s gross state product, and supported the equivalent of 4192 full-time jobs via their hunting activities.

Mr Gavan said it was time to seriously consider introducing a bounty on feral pigs, and that a proper discussion needed to be had around providing hunters access to some National Parks in addition to the state forests which are currently available via the R Licence scheme.

“Shooters Union NSW calls on the NSW Government to create a bounty on feral pigs and allow greater access to public land including National Parks,” he said. 

“It makes no sense in limiting access when hunting has been shown as effective wild pig management.”




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Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.